Date
26 February 2020
The 9958 Rescue Centre, a crowd-sourcing platform under the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, raised several million yuan for Wu Huayan. Photo: bjnews.com
The 9958 Rescue Centre, a crowd-sourcing platform under the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, raised several million yuan for Wu Huayan. Photo: bjnews.com

Death of student sparks outcry over charities

The death of Wu Huayan, a severely malnourished student from Guizhou, has sparked public outcry.

Wu is said to be working multiple part-time jobs to support her own education and help take care of her mentally sick brother. She normally spent only 2 yuan (29 US cents) a day, which led to her malnutrition.

Doctors at the hospital where she died said her malnourished condition led to heart and kidneyproblems. A medical examination also showed that she was suffering from progeria, a genetic disorder that causes a young person to age fast.

The 24-year-old was only 1.35 meters high and weighed about 57 pounds.

Despite China’s great economic progress over the past few decades, wealth disparity remains.

But what’s more disturbing is not just the huge wealth gap across the country, but the misbehavior of certain charities.

When Wu’s classmates posted her story online, donations started to flood in. But most of the money never came.

One major fundraiser, the 9958 Rescue Centre, which is a crowd-sourcing platform of the China Charities Aid Foundation for Children, raised several million yuan for Wu.

The hospital, however, said it has never received any funds from 9958.

According to media reports, Wang Yu, the founder and head of the charity, has been raising money for those in need but has never really released the funds.

The charity has reportedly amassed at least 490 million yuan (US$71.07 million), which it invested in wealth management products.

Lots of donors felt betrayed. The People’s Daily also reported the case and urged the fundraising platform to come clean and tell the truth.

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan 20

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/CG

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist